Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday Vignette: A Beautiful Day

This is a garden blog but I'm going to stretch its boundaries to share photos of last Saturday's Women's March-Los Angeles, as it was a beautiful day in all respects.  After days and days without the sunny skies Southern California is known for, we got a welcome pause in the rain on the day of the march.  Blue sky, clear air (not something Los Angeles is known for!), and cool temperatures were perfect for a walk through the streets of the city with a few hundred thousand other people.  Our bus was forced to drop off me, my 3 companions and 53 other South Bay residents a couple of blocks from Pershing Square, our destination, because the surrounding streets were already teaming with people when we arrived before 9am.  A young girl dressed as an early suffragette greeted us at 6th and Olive.



The crowd was already thick and people were stacked all over Pershing Square, making it impossible to reach the speakers' stage there.  We lined up on facing Hill Street in the understanding that was the direction the march would take to the Civic Center just over one mile away.  And that's where we stayed for the next 90 minutes, as the crowd continued to grow.

Scenes from 6th Street within the crowd.  Observers hung from windows and waved encouragement.  A rubber ball representing the world was propelled through the crowd from one participant to another.  Signs and pink "pussyhats" were everywhere.

The organizers expected 70,000 people but unofficial estimates of the number of participants have ranged dramatically from 350,000 to 750,000.  We heard snippets of speeches in the distance but the only thing that came through clearly was the Star Spangled Banner.  The crowd sang along and chants broke out with regularity: "this is what democracy looks like"; "say it loud and say it clear, immigrants are welcome here"; and "love trumps hate," to name but a few.  As time went on, spontaneous chants of "march, march, march" sprang up but, with no forward movement, the crowd began moving out in all directions around 10:30am.  As soon as we moved into adjoining streets, the reason for the quagmire became abundantly clear: all the streets between Pershing Square and Civic Center were jammed solid with people, making movement along one designated route impossible.

The view as we walked westward and looked up Grand Avenue in the direction of the Civic Center


My friends and I turned and walked south before heading east to Spring Street, then north to 1st Street and the Civic Center.  People carrying signs were everywhere, representing the diverse causes that drew them to the march.  Some, like mine, contained a laundry list of concerns with the initiatives endorsed by the new government administration, while others were more specific.

These were a few of my favorite signs but there were many great ones, like "Let's talk about the elephant in the womb" and "Election Day 2016: the day sexual assault became acceptable" and "When should I start my Russian language lessons?"

Although concerns varied from person-to-person, the crowd was united in opposition to the policies expressed by the new administration and its representatives.  Individuals will undoubtedly coalesce around the issues most important to them but I anticipate that they'll remain supportive of most, if not all, of the causes supported by their fellow marchers.  I haven't actively participated in a political rally before but, if this experience is indicative, I can't speak more highly of the process.  There were no arrests.  There was no violence.  Despite the density of the crowd, there was no pushing or shoving, no unkind words.  There were chants but no screaming - I never even heard a baby cry and there were lots of babies.  We were an assembly of multiple generations - parents, grandparents, and children.  We were an assembly of multiple faiths, ethnicities and races.   Things didn't go exactly as planned.  They went better than could have been planned.  It was a beautiful day - and a perfect antidote for the dismay and dread I felt after the dystopian inaugural address.

This compilation of photos is my Wednesday Vignette, a stretch of the concept perhaps, as well as a deviation from my usual focus on gardens and gardening.  For more Wednesday Vignettes, please visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


P.S.  For the record, there are gardens in downtown Los Angeles.  Here's one:

Spring Street Community Garden



All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. I'm thrilled to report that our attendance records up here in Portland were also far beyond what anyone expected. We had the some of the same results, with crowds diverging from the route, and overflowing into all and any streets connected to it. I couldn't think of anything witty to say, as there are SO many things about this administration I disagree equally with, so my sign only said NYET SPASIBO - meaning NO THANK YOU in Russian.

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    1. Yes, I had the same trouble distilling my feelings down to a pithy statement on a placard. Lucky for us, the masses stepped in to fill any gaps!

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  2. Thank you, Kris, for this excellent report. Ground truthing what the media says is very very important. Also, it is a very positive report. Good for you. I think we will stay banded together because the variety of issues is overlapping

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    1. The positive energy on Saturday was life-giving, Jane. I hope we continue to propel it into something even more powerful.

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  3. The largest (peaceful) demonstration in history - it has given me such hope. Great post, Kris. Weren't the signs terrific? :)

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    1. The signs were a constant source of enjoyment, Eliza - taking time to laugh helped buoy people through what feels like a national low point.

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  4. Here come my tears again. I have not been reading blogs or posting much, because of all the time I spend on Facebook. Are you on there? I just did a Wildflower Wednesday post. I did not mention our awesome, peaceful march in Lincoln, Nebraska, but did talk about my feelings about our current state of affairs, and how I am going through the grief cycle over the results of this past election.

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    1. I'm not on Facebook but I appreciate the sentiments you expressed in your blog post, Sue. Hopefully, as we walk arm-in-arm (physically or virtually), we can help shift the nation in a more positive direction.

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  5. An incredible display. Thank you for sharing it. My favorite signs that I've seen from various marches have been the ones along the lines of "I can't believe we still have to protest this sh*t!"

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    1. I saw quite a lot of those on the march, Evan! There were lots of variations on the theme, like "I'm marching so my babies won't have to" - let's hope that wish will be realized!

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  6. Your post gives me hope. Much needed hope. Thank you for being a part of this historic event.

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  7. Thanks for filing your report Kris, what a remarkable day -- for the positive. Unlike today which was just as remarkably negative.

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    1. Every news day brings, at best, a shudder down the spine and. at worst, a sucker punch to the gut. Repealing the ACA without a replacement?! Asking us to pay for the wall with a weak promise to get reimbursement from a foreign government?! Bashing the press, a cornerstone of our democracy?! If the GOP doesn't start paying attention, I'm betting on a wholesale revolt at the polls, if not also on the streets.

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  8. All the posts I've read have been consoling my feelings but I am still worried that now he has the mandate for four years he doesn't actually care very much about what anyone says. The very scariest thing is that he is removing web information about climate change and lying about almost everything. It is alarming how quickly a democracy can become something else entirely.

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    1. At some point, I hope he'll wake up and realize that his brand, the thing he seems to care more about than the people he serves, is going to be damaged "bigly" if not destroyed by his tweets and ill-considered actions. In the meantime, we have to hope that the GOP politicos, whose futures are governed by the public, will realize that the tide is turning and a crushing wave is headed their way. Our job is to alert our fellow citizens of the dangers and remind our representatives of our views.

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  9. Well done for going on the march, it's very encouraging to learn about the huge number taking part.

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    1. Marching is just the first step in raising awareness. There's so much more to do!

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  10. Thanks for sharing your photos of this historic event. My constant hope and prayer is that continued historic events like this will overshadow the shame, delusion, lies and disinformation in one of the worst historic events taking place in my lifetime. Thank you.

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